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Thread: How to deal with overly optimistic novice photographers who think they are better than they are?

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    Ausphotography Regular MissionMan's Avatar
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    How to deal with overly optimistic novice photographers who think they are better than they are?

    It may seem like a strange title but bare with me and it may make sense.

    Got a "friend" on facebook (and I say "friend" because he is part of a group of friends, but not someone I am close with).

    He has started to get into photorgraphy and gone out and invested in a mirrorless setup and seems to be plodding along getting better. Investment so far is limited, so it's not like he's invested in the top of the range glass.

    Recently he posted up his website commenting on how well his photography is going with the usual support from friends and I don't have an issue with this, because that's what his friends are there to do, support him.

    What concern me was a little page he had about business offering his services. The first part was less of a concern, offering his services to do club photography and hey, if people want to pay him to come to their club and take photos of people having a good time so they can post photos on Facebook, good for him, it's not exactly going to be the end of the world if it doesn't come out perfectly and I've seen enough dismal photos of clubs to know that it's probably not an event where quality is paramount.

    The part that concerned me was a little piece saying "Wedding photography - coming soon".

    Now, given his skill level, what concerns me is that a supportive friend or family member will see him offering the services and engage him to do the wedding.

    He's not a bad photographer by amateur standards, but he certainly isn't good either. Without blowing my own trumpet, he isn't as good as I am and I wouldn't go near a wedding. He'd probably battle to win comps here in the intermediate section and I'd expect anyone engaging in Weddings to at least have a good chance of winning comps in the advanced section.

    So the question is what do I do? Do I leave it alone? Wait and see if he actually starts trying to do something on the wedding side? The concern I have is that if he does actually get a wedding gig from an unsuspecting friend, it may destroy the only chance they have of decent memories on the day.
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    Ausphotography Regular bcys1961's Avatar
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    The first half of your description sounded a bit like me a year ago as I did exactly that - decided to get more into photography and invested in a mirrorless system. You can get a lot better very quickly once you start reading and practising , entering the comps etc...

    Where I differ form your friend is I have no desire to do weddings , or any other form of professional photography. I'm a happy amateur . As you say if a friend asked me to do their wedding I say that is a specialist skill, but if they persisted , and if I was going to the wedding anyway I would not charge , and would warn them - you get what you get.


    As for your conundrum, I would not do or say anything. I would not see it as my business to get involved in the transaction between two other parties . It's buyer beware like anything else . Maybe he will start with friends , or maybe a cheap rate and the buyer will be happy with a cheap result. He might even do a good job ? Eventually he will either make it or he won't and that is the free market at work .
    The name is Brad ......

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    Moderately Underexposed I @ M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MissionMan View Post
    It may seem like a strange title but bare with me and it may make sense.
    Spellcheck needed, getting "bare" with you is out of the question.


    Quote Originally Posted by MissionMan View Post
    The part that concerned me was a little piece saying "Wedding photography - coming soon".
    I have experienced the same concerns, it is a common thing and happens with people from here on AP too. Straight from buying a camera, joining the forum to wedding pro extroadinaire within 6 months.



    Quote Originally Posted by MissionMan View Post
    So the question is what do I do? Do I leave it alone? Wait and see if he actually starts trying to do something on the wedding side? The concern I have is that if he does actually get a wedding gig from an unsuspecting friend, it may destroy the only chance they have of decent memories on the day.
    No, don't leave it alone. Risk losing a few failbook "friends" to prevent tears from someone further down the track. Be blunt, just tell him he isn't up to it yet.

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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bcys1961 View Post
    The first half of your description sounded a bit like me .....
    Ditto!

    No one can lay claim to being born a great photographer.

    I say leave him be.
    By the time he reaches a point where he realises he could charge an appropriate amount to cover his expenses and make a living from it, the worlds wedding photographer pool will have swollen to about 6.999 billion. From that point, Natural Selection will sort them all out.

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    Ausphotography Regular
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    Quote Originally Posted by arthurking83 View Post
    Ditto!

    No one can lay claim to being born a great photographer.

    I say leave him be.
    By the time he reaches a point where he realises he could charge an appropriate amount to cover his expenses and make a living from it, the worlds wedding photographer pool will have swollen to about 6.999 billion. From that point, Natural Selection will sort them all out.

    Agreed, but getting your hands dirty on wedding photography isn't on my list of things most likely to help your career prospects. I would compare it to trying to learn parachuting by starting base jumping, with an unsuspecting couple tied to your back

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    http://steveaxford.smugmug.com/ Steve Axford's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MissionMan View Post
    Agreed, but getting your hands dirty on wedding photography isn't on my list of things most likely to help your career prospects. I would compare it to trying to learn parachuting by starting base jumping, with an unsuspecting couple tied to your back
    I can't see that taking bad wedding photos is worse than selling anything that isn't up to standard. No-one is going to die from a bad wedding photo. Your memory will not be wiped because of a bad wedding photo (you will still remember the wedding). It's just a wedding photo.

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    Yup. But you only ever get married to that person once (or so you would hope) so if it goes bad, there isn't really much of an opportunity to go back and redo it. You can redo most other photo shoots. The other thing with selling something that isn't up to standard is people can normally see what they are getting.

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    http://steveaxford.smugmug.com/ Steve Axford's Avatar
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    There are lots of things in life that only happen once. How many people really dote over their wedding photos?

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    Arch-Σigmoid Ausphotography Regular ameerat42's Avatar
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    Presuming the thread title:
    "How to deal with overly optimistic novice photographers who think they are better than they are?"
    is an accurate description of the situation, does the word "deal":
    a) relate to you accommodating the situation, or,

    b) to you intervening to alter some behaviour?

    In either case, do you have any possible outcomes you wish to occasion?

    Given that in the body of your post your relationship to this person is rather remote, I would tend on the
    side of leaving it alone. In considering this as an option, recall whether when you were at a similar stage of
    photographic adeptness, some of your behaviours may not have been wrongly interpreted.

    In other words, "What's it to you?" If you want a corollary, "How will anything you do better the cause of photography?" (Bit of , eh!)
    That can also be said, "You'll probably get nowhere [good], and have a rough ride to boot."

    Nuff's head.
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  10. #10
    It's all about the Light!
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    Wedding photography, caveat emptor.
    If you hire a cheap 'tog you get those results.

    We are not our brothers keeper. You can't fix everything, so just leave it alone.
    regards, Kym Gallery Honest & Direct Constructive Critique Appreciated! ©
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    It's all about the Light!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Axford View Post
    I can't see that taking bad wedding photos is worse than selling anything that isn't up to standard.
    Except that with our 35th anniversary coming up in January the photos have a very sentimental value which seems to increase over time.

    But it is up to the couple to get a good 'tog and good results. A lot of people want good long lasting images.
    Last edited by Kym; 22-12-2014 at 6:00pm.

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    I guess one of the options might also be one that avoids approaching it from a skill perspective (which may knock his self confidence) and approach it from the commercial perspective. I.e. I see you posted wedding photography on your site, you may want to be careful because of the commercial implications, insurance, watertight contracts, backup gear etc. Once he investigates that he might come to his senses if he realises the costs of getting commercially ready doesn't make it financially viable.

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    It's all about the Light!
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    Tell him the story about the uninsured wedding tog who last year (2013) lost his house then his marriage because an auntie of the bride tripped over his lighting and broke her hip.

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    Describe 'good'. What a socialite thinks is good, will differ from what your average unemployable bogan with 6 kids does, along with how much they are both willing to pay.

    $400 for a wedding, in some socio-economic groups is all they can afford and they will probably not fork out for the $500 album. They just want photos to share on FB etc. But a high-society wedding, would not contract that $400 photographer in the first place, and their expections would be much higher.

    Your friend might find a niche market, where what they do is in demand. They would not be taking away from the $10K wedding photographer, cause their market demographic is so dis-similar.

    So as per others, I say, let them do their weddings, but talk to them about their skills, their market segment, what they think they can do, and what they think their customers expect. As long as customer expectation for the $ is the same as the photographers skill for the $, then win win.
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    MissionMan. A good way to communicate with your FB friend, would be to say that you wouldn't do it. Explain all the pitfalls. A simple pitfall is; that it only takes one thing to go wrong (Bad card, Computer crash, nasty clients. As examples) And your repartition will be shot.
    I have seen it happen. I was telling I @ M about one a couple of years ago. She charged big money, for one with a entry level camera, a flash with no spare batteries and it took 6 months to deliver the not so good images (Then they weren't allowed to display the images on FB without having the watermark covering 60% of the middle of the image)
    She was also rude and cranky.

    Now you don't even see her on FB, or anywhere for that matter. Vanished from this earth.

    Explain that do it properly they really need an assistant, plenty of backup batteries, camera cards and a backup camera (Not an iPhone) Not forgetting public liability insurance.... The list goes on.
    I remember reading on here, about 4 years ago. (And it might have been Rick who posted it) That a minimum of around $35k worth of gear (Cameras, computer, software and sundries) would be a good starting point for someone getting into weddings.

    I take my hat off to good wedding TOG's. It can be so bloody hard... And the worse thing is that some nong with an iPhone, will say "My photos are better"
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    Ausphotography irregular Mark L's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MissionMan View Post
    He'd probably battle to win comps here in the intermediate section and I'd expect anyone engaging in Weddings to at least have a good chance of winning comps in the advanced section.
    Just as well I don't do weddings.
    Can I now be moved back to intermediate?
    For some reason this person seems important to you? Just be honest with anything you say to them. If the person is not important to you, don't worry about it at all.
    There must be plenty of other people taking wedding photos that may not be as good as they could be. How to hunt them all down??

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    Ausphotography Regular bcys1961's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark L View Post
    Just as well I don't do weddings.
    Can I now be moved back to intermediate?
    For some reason this person seems important to you? Just be honest with anything you say to them. If the person is not important to you, don't worry about it at all.
    There must be plenty of other people taking wedding photos that may not be as good as they could be. How to hunt them all down??
    I've won some intermediate comps . If I get promoted to advanced and win a comp can I do weddings ! Please sir !!!

    Then again my recent wedding comp picture of Bridezilla only came second. I need to do more work .

    ( And congrats to Elvie for two wins in a row!)

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    Ausphotography irregular Mark L's Avatar
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    So while I'm moved back to intermediate, Brad should be moved to advanced.

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    Ausphotography Regular bcys1961's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark L View Post
    So while I'm moved back to intermediate, Brad should be moved to advanced.
    If there is a wedding in Mudgee let me know . You can be my assistant. (How many beers do you charge?)

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    MM, you could borrow from Yes Minister........." Ah you are doing wedding photography? A very brave decision sir...very brave"
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